Applied Microeconomics

Module code: ECN217

This module is concerned with the application of microeconomic theory to the understanding and critical assessment of policy. For students studying for an economics degree, the course complements core second year modules such as ECN201 by focusing on the policy application of the economic concepts developed in such modules. ECN217 will also provide an introduction to material that may be studied in greater depth in third year specialist modules.

This module contains a mix of economic theory and applications of that theory to data. It will therefore involve some knowledge of basic econometric methods.

Aims of the module

The aims of the module are:

  • develop an understanding of how microeconomic theory and evidence can inform public policy debate
  • develop an ability to discuss policy interventions from an economic perspective
  • provide students with an ability to evaluate public policy against sets of criteria

Learning objectives

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • read and understand economic debate in newspapers, textbooks and journal articles about microeconomic policy
  • use existing microeconomic theory and evidence to describe the rationale for current public policy decisions
  • construct an argument for or against possibly hypothetical policies, supported by microeconomic theory and evidence


Examples of topics include: cost-benefit analysis, the economics of labour, education, health, transport and the environment

Teaching methods

Lectures, workshops and tutorials


One piece of coursework (an essay) worth 25% of the total mark, and one unseen end-of-semester exam worth 75% of the total mark

Basic reading

There is no one textbook which covers all aspects of the module and hence you will be expected to use a variety of sources. Reading lists for each topic will be provided as the module progresses.

Prerequisites ECN130

Module leader Anita Ratcliffe

Semester Spring

Credits 20